Time to move forward after rejection of independence from UK, Scots told
The people of Scotland have been urged to accept the referendum result and move forward.
The Free Church of Scotland said it is time to turn away from the "self-interest" of the two-year campaign and instead start to "focus on the needs of others".
Business leaders said many companies will "breathe a sigh of relief" now that the uncertainty created by the referendum is at an end.
Bryan Buchan, chief executive of Scottish Engineering, said: "We are delighted to put the uncertainty of the last two years behind us and to resume our focus on business. There has undoubtedly been some "marking time" on investment by the larger organisations and we would anticipate that projects will now move forward, as will business growth, given the future is now more assured, and we have an open field for the hugely important UK market."
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Simon Walker, director-general of the Institute of Directors, said: "There can be no doubt that many businesses will breathe a sigh of relief that the prospect of a contentious currency debate and prolonged economic negotiations have been avoided, and yet we know that significant changes are still on the cards.
"The main party leaders have made clear their intention to devolve further power to the Scottish Parliament, and over time this will give the people of Scotland more of a say over how to manage their economy.
"As negotiations commence on a future settlement for Scotland, the focus must be on ensuring that any new powers are used to boost Scotland's economic competitiveness, unleash enterprise and attract further investment.
"We are now at the beginning of a national debate about economic devolution. The Scots started that debate, and now it's time for all of us to contribute new ideas about how our nations, regions and cities are run for the benefit of the entire country."
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Liz Cameron, chief executive of Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: "Scotland has decided that the way forward is to remain as part of the United Kingdom. This decision must be respected by all.
"We are now on a path which will provide additional devolved powers to the Scottish Parliament. We need clarity and detail on what specific powers will be transferred, and ensure these are delivered within the promised timescale.
"This historical decision will bring change, not only to Scotland, but throughout the United Kingdom. The campaigns have divided opinion. It is now time for us to come together and grasp the opportunities which dynamic change can stimulate and energise. Our direction of travel has been decided. The Scottish business community will work with our politicians at Holyrood and Westminster to influence and deliver the best deal for Scottish business.
"The referendum campaigns placed Scotland's economy at the top of the political agenda. Now we must keep it there. As we approach elections to the UK Parliament in 2015 and the Scottish Parliament in 2016, we have a great opportunity to ensure that Scotland's economic potential is enhanced to take forward a new business vision, one which places Scotland on the world stage and continues to unlock our collective entrepreneurial spirit as part of a United Kingdom."
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The Free Church called on voters to respect the democratic process and work to make Scotland a successful nation within the UK.
James Fraser, chairman of the Free Church's board of trustees and former principal of the University of the Highlands and Islands, said: "Much of the debate of the past two years has been focused on self-interest. We would now like the focus to shift to the needs of others.
"Many of our communities are scarred by the effects of unemployment, substance and sexual abuse, and relationship breakdown; the care provision for our old people is often inadequate, and too many of our children fail to attain basic literacy and numeracy skills.
"We call on MSPs to work tirelessly to create a more just and caring society, to support the family as the bedrock of society, to fight poverty, economic and social exclusion and the scourges of poverty and unemployment.
"The place of Christianity in the public place is the key to resolving these social ills and we would welcome the opportunity to work alongside the Scottish Government in pursuit of these aims."
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Friends of the Earth Scotland director Richard Dixon said: "We hope that many of the huge numbers of people who have been engaged on both sides of the referendum campaign will continue to take part in the discussion about the type of country we want Scotland to be.
"The No vote means the start of a lively debate about what more powers might come to the Scottish Parliament. Something missing from the promises so far is full control of energy policy in Scotland. This would greatly help us on the way to 100% renewable energy.
"Friends of the Earth Scotland will be pressing for this and other measures that would help Scotland become a greener, fairer place. We will continue to hold all our political parties to account for the environmental promises made to the Scottish people."
He added: "There has been much said about oil in the last few weeks of the referendum debate but little mention of the most important point, which is that we can't possibly afford to burn it all.
"Climate science and justice demands that much of the oil left in the North Sea will have to stay where it is or be used in ways that don't release the carbon it contains. Scotland needs a mature discussion of what being serious about climate change means for an oil producing country."
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Scotland Office minister David Mundell, the only Conservative MP in Scotland, said he expects new powers for Holyrood to get through the Commons and Lords, despite the opposition of some MPs.
"Parties with over 600 MPs support these proposals," he said at the referendum count in Edinburgh.
"It may be that some colleagues or some people in the Labour Party might not support them, but I think with the full support of the three parties I don't see a basis on which it wouldn't get through the Commons or the Lords.
"I think there's a basis for reaching agreement, taking Ruth Davidson's tax plans, perhaps the Labour Party's welfare plans, and getting a package that can command widespread support."
He said Ms Davidson, the Scottish Tory leader, "has been the game changer in relation to new powers for Scotland".
"She set out powers to fully devolve income tax, which is really the most radical thing from any of the parties in Scotland," he said.
Looking ahead to the general election, he said: "Obviously there's nobody that wants to see more Tory MPs in Scotland more than I do, and I am committed to working for that.
"We've got some very good candidates lined up in the general election, which frighteningly is only eight months away."
Andy Willox, Scottish policy convenor at the Federation of Small Businesses, said: "The result is clear. We must now focus on the future and how we can come together to make Scotland the best place to live, work and do business.
"Business and entrepreneurship have a crucial role to play in delivering the fairer and more prosperous Scotland for which so many expressed a keen desire during the campaign. Businesses don't just create jobs, deliver services and generate revenues, they have the capacity to change lives and transform communities.
"With the Scottish Parliament set to become a more powerful actor in our economy, the touchstones of the new devolution settlement must be boosting business and growth. In the weeks and months to come, we look forward to playing our part in making that happen."